Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 September 2016

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 September 2016


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)

 

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into five unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers. One of these Agreements has a rollback provision in it.

  • The five APAs signed pertain to diverse sectors i.e. Information Technology, Sourcing services and Investment advisory services.
  • With these signings, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 103. These include 4 bilateral APAs and 99 unilateral APAs.

 

Background:

The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the Rollback provisions were introduced in 2014.

  • The Scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the arm’s length price of international transactions in advance for a maximum period of five future years. The taxpayer has also the option to rollback the APA for four preceding years.
  • Since its inception, the APA scheme has attracted tremendous interest among Multi National Enterprises (MNEs) and more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) have been filed in just four years.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Sovereign Gold Bonds: RBI Shifts Issue Date By A Week

 

With over two lakh applications for the Sovereign Gold Bond, the Reserve Bank of India has shifted the issue date by a week to September 30 for “smooth” uploading of the subscriptions in its ‘E-Kuber’ system.Sovereign Gold Bond

  • According to Finance Ministry, the amount realised through the fifth tranche of the Sovereign Gold Bond scheme is expected to cross Rs 820 crore. This was mobilised through over 2 lakh applications representing around 2.37 tonnes of gold.
  • The total subscription in first four tranches was Rs 2,239 crore corresponding to 7.85 tonnes of gold.

 

About Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme:

Under the scheme, gold bonds are issued in denominations of 5 grams, 10 grams, 50 grams and 100 grams for a term of 5-7 years with a rate of interest to be calculated on the value of the metal at the time of investment. The scheme has an annual cap of 500 grams per person.

  • The bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited and designated post offices.
  • As per the scheme, the gold bonds will be sold only to resident Indian entities including individuals, Hindu undivided families, trusts, universities, and charitable institutions.
  • The bond tenure will be eight years with exit option beginning the fifth year onwards. They will also be tradable in the bourses.
  • Bonds can also be used as collateral for loans.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

 

Mission Parivar Vikas to be launched to push contraceptive use

 

The government will soon launch Mission Parivar Vikas to improve family planning services in seven states where the combined total fertility rate (TFR), or the number of children a woman has in her lifetime) constitutes 44% of the country’s population.

 

Key facts:

  • The main objective of ‘Mission Parivas Vikas is to accelerate access to high quality family planning choices based on information, reliable services and supplies within a rights-based framework.
  • The Union ministry of health and family welfare will launch the programme in 145 high-focus districts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam.
  • These districts were identified based on their total fertility rate and sterilization performance among other measures taken for family planning, for immediate, special and accelerated efforts.
  • The target of the government is to reach the replacement level fertility goals of 2.1 by the year 2025.
  • The key strategic focus of this initiative will be on improving access to contraceptives through delivering assured services, dovetailing with new promotional schemes, ensuring commodity security, building capacity (service providers), creating an enabling environment along with close monitoring and implementation.

 

Why this is necessary?

Recent government data shows that these 145 districts have TFR of more than or equal to 3 (56% of the 261 districts in the 7 High Focus States), and are home to 28% of India’s population, which is about 33 crore. These states are home to 22% of India’s protected couples and 40% of India’s couples with unmet contraceptive needs.

These districts have a substantial impact on maternal and child health indicators, as about 25-30% of maternal deaths and 50% of infant deaths occur in these districts alone. Moreover, 115 of these districts (79%) have high percentage of adolescent mothers.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Brazil urges India to broaden MERCOSUR presence

 

Brazil has asked India to expand its commercial and multilateral footprints in South America. Brazil is also planning to take up this issue in the upcoming Goa BRICS summit.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Michel Temer are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting on September 17 where Brazil is likely to push for greater presence of India in MERCOSUR.

 

Background:MERCOSUR

India at present has over 450 tariff lines with MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market). But, the plan now is to raise the tariff line to 4000. Both sides have already begun to take several steps to firm up India’s involvement in MERCOSUR that covers apart from Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Venezuela.

 

What is MERCOSUR?

Mercosur is a sub-regional bloc. Its full members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Its associate countries are Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname.

The Mercusor trading bloc was established in 1991 and negotiations with the EU originally started in 2010 with a number of ‘rounds’ of negotiations, which have the overall aim to agree a trade deal between the two blocs to allow easier trading of goods and services as well as government procurement and intellectual property and technical barriers to trade.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims

 

  • INDRA-2016: It is the eighth edition of India-Russia Joint Military Exercise. It has begun in the Ussiriysk District in Vladivostok, Russia. Main focus of this edition of the joint exercise is on ‘Counter-Terrorism Operations in semi mountainous and jungle terrain under United Nations Mandate’. Indra series of bilateral exercises is one of the major bilateral defence cooperation initiatives between India and Russia since 2003.

 

  • SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism: The 2nd meeting of the High Level Group of Eminent Experts to strengthen the SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism recently concluded in Delhi. Delegations from all SAARC member countries participated in the conference. During the meeting, the issues of terrorism and the measures to strengthen the SAARC anti-terrorism mechanism were discussed. Besides terrorism, the important issues discussed during the meeting included drugs trafficking, financing of terrorism and cyber crimes. The member countries shared their national experiences on various related legislations to counter terrorism. All member countries of SAARC agreed to move forward towards operationalizing the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) and the SAARC Drugs Offences Monitoring Desk (SDOMD) in order to strengthen the combat efforts against terrorism.

 

  • 5th BIRAC Innovator’s Meet: Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public Sector Undertaking under the aegis of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), is organizing its 5th Innovator’s Meet in New Delhi. BIRAC Innovator’s Meet is an industry-academia interface facilitating national and global partners, providing innovators access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, IP management and handholding schemes. This would help in bringing innovation excellence to Indian biotech firms, make them globally competitive and facilitate novel, high quality and cost-effective affordable technologies. Theme for 2016– ‘Biotech Innovation Ecosystem – Strategizing the Next Leap’.

 

  • Special courts: Gujarat government has set up 16 new courts at district level for speedy trial of cases registered under the Prevention of Atrocities against SCs and STs Act. The state law department has issued a notification after consultation with the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court for setting up of new courts.